Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Moral hazard in Gears of War 3

Horde mode in Gears of War 3 is slated to feature a new hazard - the moral hazard.

In Gears 2, horde mode is an endurance match where waves of enemies swarm a small squad of up to five players. It uses the games multiplayer deathmatch maps as arenas and players “win” after completing 50 waves of increasingly difficult monsters.

If you die in horde mode, you don’t come back until the next wave. A wave fails the moment the last player dies, so staying alive is very important.

But that’s going to change in Gears 3 horde mode. Players will win currency to purchase fortification (to be fair, horde mode was unbeatable without using shields as improvised barriers), traps, weapons and - get ready for it - resurrections for dead teammates.

Now this isn’t going to be the cliche “how dare they make changes in the new version” post that nerdblogs are so prone to include. It’s entirely possible this will be more fun, and I look forward to having randomly-selected bosses every 10 waves instead of a pack of bloodmounts each time.

Instead, I want to make a prediction - more players will die stupid, risky deaths because the permanent buzzkill of an in-game death will be gone.

I tend to only play horde mode with friends, and I imagine that will be become an official policy when horde 2.0 matches feature reckless players looking to rack up more kills kamikazing into packs of enemies, then demanding in squeaky voices that I spend hard-earned currency to bring them back so they can do it all over again.

I theorize that a no-rez policy may make some groups more successful on average, as players will see their risk and reward curves bend, take less chances, and have more money leftover to buy explosive-tipped arrows.

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